Cardinals Spring Training Injury Update: More Key Players May Miss Opening Day

Several key players are injured right now for the St. Louis Cardinals. What are their timelines?
Feb 19, 2024; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Lars Nootbaar (21) practices at
Feb 19, 2024; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Lars Nootbaar (21) practices at / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals have three key players who are currently experiencing some injury setbacks. Sonny Gray, Tommy Edman, and Lars Nootbaar are all ailing in one way or another. President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak gave an update on these players Friday at Spring Training.

Tommy Edman

News of Tommy Edman's wrist surgery surfaced in early January. Edman, 28, had arthroscopic wrist surgery in October at the end of the season. The news came as a surprise to many fans, and concern began to arise that his spring ramp-up would be affected.

That was indeed the case, as Edman has only played catch and hit off a tee strictly from the left side. When asked about Edman's availability for Opening Day, Mozeliak stated that "it'd be doubtful". Tommy Edman was supposed to be the team's starting center fielder, so his absence opens up the opportunity for Dylan Carlson to get the bulk of the playing time there.

Lars Nootbaar

Last week, Lars Nootbaar injured his ribs while attempting to make a twisting catch in a game against the Houston Astros. Nootbaar hasn't played in a game since March 2nd. His initial absences were for precautionary reasons, but after receiving scans of his ribs, two nondisplaced fractures were identified.

Nootbaar won't swing or play in the field for the next two weeks, but there is still hope that he will be ready come Opening Day. With their presumptive left fielder and center fielder out in Lars Nootbaar and Tommy Edman respectively, Michael Siani and Victor Scott II will receive additional playing time in spring.

Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray left his last start on Monday, March 3rd early with hamstring tightness. He has experienced an injury similar to this a couple of times in his career, so the decision to pull him quickly was an easy one. Gray, the organization's shiny new ace, is necessary to the team's success. If he is out for a significant amount of time, that will hurt the Cardinals mightily.

Some good news came as a result of his MRI; it is just a mild hamstring strain, and he likely won't be out for much longer than the first couple of weeks of the season. A specific timetable has not yet been released.

Sonny Gray appeared in an interview on Foul Territory on Thursday to speak about his injury. He described his early exit as a "very precautionary thing". Gray didn't seem too worried about the injury on the whole.

The health of these three players is key to the Cardinals' success in 2024. If Edman, Nootbaar, and Gray are all absent for significant periods of time to start the season, it will be tough to crawl out of the inevitable hole that will be dug.